In all likelihood, your auto glass experts have examined your windshield for less-than-common cracks. While direct impacts, of course, can destroy a windshield, a few other factors might be damaging it slowly. A lot of industry-leading research has been put into windshield repair, and it’s important to know where the pros are coming from.


If you haven’t yet, consider the following ways you might be letting your windshield break down. If you can nip the damage in the bud, you might even be able to spruce up the glass yourself.


Damage Cause One: Cold Weather


If you’ve left your vehicle in the cold for days at a time, you might’ve robbed it from much-needed heat. Glass, like most materials, contracts when contacting cold air. Many research teams have worked hard to pin down windshield damage, and they’ve determined that cold weather, alone, can greatly destabilize a windshield’s structure. Windshield chips exposed to temperatures under 32 degrees, additionally, are 60 percent more likely to crack.


Damage Cause Two: Dirt


Dirt and grime might be small, but it heightens the force of impacting material. When a flying pebble strikes a clean windshield, the force is distributed. If, however, it contacts an uneven surface, it’ll cause cracking. Transfer of energy is incredibly important, and you should always clean your windshield to secure a safe, even surface.


Damage Cause Three: Your Wiper Blades


Wiper blades wear down over time, exposing hard plastic. Even if your blades are still effective, they might be chipping away at your windshield if they’ve been hardened in age. If you’re going to spend money on a vehicle maintenance item, make it your wiper blades. In the summer, blades take a lot of damage. Swap them out at the start of fall, and swap them again at the start of spring.


Damage Cause Four: Ice


More extreme than a little cold weather, ice can be incredibly damaging to your vehicle’s glass. While frustrating at first, repeat ice removal, when done incorrectly, can slowly degrade your windshield. De-icing is an art, and you should always supplement it with your vehicle’s defroster. Avoid using a scraper, and avoid slowly damaging the glass’s surface when the snow starts falling.


Damage Cause Five: Driving


That’s right: Driving itself causes windshield damage. Regardless of how clean, collected and clear your windshield is, your car’s daily travels can and will degrade its quality. Always check with your provider, and get annual check-ups on your windshield’s health.


Safe driving requires constant upkeep, and your windshield—while durable—deserves a little attention. Stay updated with your vehicle company’s newsletters, recalls and options. In most cases, your specific make and model can be attended to with brand-specific solutions and upkeep options.